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I am back in the world

After being a recluse for 18+ months due to seizures, being physically and mentally able to go places again feels absolutely phenomenal.

For over 18 months I only left the house for dog walks. I didn’t leave my village, I didn’t travel on public transport, go in supermarkets, or stay outside for long periods of time. I basically didn’t have a life.

Most of this period we were totally unaware I was having seizures, and were desperately trying to work out what was causing my odd behaviour, panic, zoning out etc. We were trying to manage it, live with it and understand it – my ex-social worker blamed my seizures on bipolar moods / psychosis, as dissociation, but otherwise left us alone to handle it ourselves. Shortly after we stopped going to appts, because we couldn’t manage and as ever they weren’t helping!!

Now that we’ve found ways to manage everything a bit better, and especially with the polarized goggles, I am actually able to get out and about in the world ๐Ÿ˜€

I’ve been able to go in shops!!! Actual well lit, big, supermarket shops! I can go on public transport. I can have longer periods of time out and enjoy things and just *be* a person with a life!!

One of the things I am now able to do is go and manage GP appts. We recently switched to a new GP surgery, as our previous surgery behaved disgustingly yet again…and the new surgery seems INCREDIBLE!

The Dr at the meet and greet was lovely; very friendly, polite, and the ‘negatives’ he listed about the surgery (thatย sometimes you might have to wait two days for an appt, or if you wanted one at a specific surgery the longest you might have to wait is six days) made us laugh…at our previous surgery we had to waitย three weeks for an emergency appt!!!!

He asked if either of us were on any referrals, and I mentioned that I was waiting to be referred to a neurologist to investigate seizures, but needed a blood test first. He said as soon as my info had been swapped across we could get that done, and if the previous surgery dicked about and didn’t send it soon enough, we could phone them, ask what specific blood test it is, and get it done sooner ๐Ÿ™‚

So I’m actually on the way to having my seizures looked at!

Overall a very positive post…and hopefully not because I’m manic hahaha!! No but really, having a life rocks. Of course days out the house still affect me more, with the result being exhaustion and increased seizures, but the fact I am able to do things just feels so incredibly wonderful ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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Why must I be out in the world?!

We signed up to the new GP surgery today, the other one in our town.

We get there, and the receptionist says that although we’ll be signed to this surgery, most appts will be at the other surgery, a 25 minute bus ride away…whyyyyy?!

Apparently you can see Dr’s at our surgery, it’s just a longer wait as there are fewer appt slots there. We said that was fine as the previous surgery left you waiting 3 weeks for an emergency appt XD

Even so, apparently we have to have a ‘meet and greet’ appt with the GP before we will be registered, and that has to be at the far away surgery…this sucks because I’m already going to freaking out (I haven’t had a physical appt at a surgery in a few years, and this will be a new surgery with a new Dr!) and the bus will make me very sensitive seizures too. Add some stress and I’ll be fucked >__<

The receptionist said the lighting was dim at that surgery too, when I asked, but my bf still wants to try and get the meet and greet at the nearby one. Idk.

Filling the questionnaire in was fun, considering all the information they demanded from you, and I had no idea what to put for epilepsy…I’m 98% certain I have epilepsy (as my seizures are light triggers, no t tonic clonic, and I have auras – all are incredibly rare with NES), but as I’m not diagnosed I couldn’t circle it.

In the end I circled everything, and put seizures under investigation, which is what a previous Dr wrote on my fit note.

Whilst we were out I also goggled up and got to go in the second hand bookstore, where I haven’t been able to go for years due to seizures and lighting. I love this place, and found a very old interesting dog breed book ๐Ÿ˜€

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Bad bits and good bits

Today got off to a shit start, with my GP surgery being major dicks yet again!

My bf phoned up to ask if the surgery could legally do a blood test if I was having a seizure. ย As far as we knew I was on the waiting list for a home test, but we’d been waiting for months and thought with my new polarized goggles I could get in and out fairly easily…we just wouldn’t want to get there, me to have a seizure, and them to say “we can’t legally do it now, come back another day!”…and it’d NEVER be done!!

The receptionist was actually disgusting. She treated my bf like shit. She told him he was wasting their time asking this question, that “there’d be Dr’s there” if I did have a seizure, and – the best bit! – snapped “You’re not having a home visit, if that’s what you’re after!”

Firstly, that IS NOT what we were after, secondlyย according to the previous receptionist we spoke to we were already on that list!!!

Thanks for letting us know we weren’t at all XD

After receiving no answer, we hung up. We then phoned Epilepsy Action’s advice line, who were almost as unhelpful and out of date in their information…according to them seizures cannot be triggered by fluorescent lighting?!?

Quick google search showed me many others were also triggered by fluorescent / LED lighting, and this post on an epilepsy forum hit home as I share a lot of these triggers!

Anyway.

The benefit of this was that we discovered a new GP surgery in our town. It’s in a small house, so has normal lighting, and means I don’t have to deal with the shitty staff anymore…yay!

Today I went out for 3 hours, which was really fun! It resulted in a high number of seizures (21 simple partial, and 3 complex partial), but without my polarized goggles it would have been much more, and I wouldn’t have been able to do anywhere near as much ๐Ÿ™‚

Here’s me in a brightly lit shop!!

spoonie

And we even had a meal at a pub ๐Ÿ˜€

And an ice cream with a view for desert!!

Awesome day ๐Ÿ™‚

A few hours after we got back home, my brain crashed and I had to take a codeine for a migraine…but it was worth it!

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What to call but ‘ugh’?

I’m at the bottom, I’ve sunk so deep I’m surrounded by despair.

Yesterday I had my first medical appt in a year and it was awful and just reminded me completely of why I stopped going. The Dr was rude, dismissive and had no appreciation for how scared I was, either about the appt or the fact I’ve started having seizures with no history of seizures. I broke down in the appt and cried uncontrollably.

Benefits have stopped two of them because they ‘thought’ we were receiving universal credit (we weren’t, we never have) and now are refusing to start. We are now receiving only 80% of our usual income.

My seizures are off the chart, I feel like shit all the time, I’m constantly close to tears.

I’m totally done with my partner and everything he does makes me angry. Twice he’s left some fucking quail eggs in an incubator in a stupid place and twice it’s been knocked off and smashed and I am just so done.

I’ve not been happy with our relationship in so long because he let some things get too far to be repairable, but we keep trying and trying and I don’t want to anymore.

The ‘kill yourself’ voice is whispering away and I’m just sat here with no energy for anything.

Funnily enough before yesterday we’d been doing pretty good. Things change easily, all it takes is one bad thing to happen and if I don’t have the stamina to resist those suicidal whispers it can happen. And that’s what nobody understands. Maybe it’s because I’ve felt like this so many times before, so now when I feel like I’m drowning I have less fight, less energy to kick up to the surface.

It’s like when people say “it’ll get better, look for the nice weather after the storm” – and I’m there thinking ‘sure, but then another even worse storm follows that…’

Bipolar is an illness that takes you round in circles, with no end in sight. Telling me “it’ll get better” doesn’t help, because there’s always another storm coming…

I am not in any danger at all. I have no strong urges or plans, they’re just whispers. These are just feelings.

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Sleep

I’m not sure I’ve ever slept so much in my life, even the times I’ve slept a stupid amount due to depression.

This time the sleep is caused by seizures – not only have we figured that lack of sleep is a surefire way to guarantee a day filled with seizures, but we’ve also discovered that napping when I feel even slightly tired is great for resetting my brain.

Yesterday I had a lot of seizures and ended up sleeping 4pm-6am, today I had a few absence seizures but otherwise was good, but still needed a 2hr nap around 3pm. No seizures since and my head isn’t even that spacey ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s so easy for mental health professionals, or family and friends, to say that the most important thing we can do is stick to a schedule – especially a sleep schedule!

But there are a lot of illnesses where, if we listen to our body, sleep can be extremely beneficial and we should sleep whenever we need to. Sleep’s wonderful for healing, it can help boost your mood, reset your brain, and often you feel more energised.

For five years I had every single professional tell me how important it was to stick to a sleep schedule, that I MUST NOT sleep more than 8 hours a night and I must NEVER EVER EVER nap in the day.

And I tried to live that way for years, and it was hell!

Now I listen to my body. I nap when it says I need to, if I wake from a nap and I’m still tired I’ll return to bed and sleep until my body is ready to wake…it’s been amazingly helpful. Nine times out of ten when I wake my head is clear, my mood is brighter, and I have absolutely no inklings of a seizure.

The way me and my partner summed it up today is: we’d rather I lost a few hours to a nap and woke feeling better, than fought through tiredness and had multiple seizures, losing a whole day and risking injury. It’s not rocket science.

Medical professionals have their place and sure, they can have useful advice to offer…but at the end of the day you know your body best, and if you’ve been struggling with an illness for years you’ll most likely know what works for you best. Back to those blanket statements again, huh?! ๐Ÿ˜€

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Doubling the dose

Gog spoke to the GP yesterday and the GP suggested doubling the dose.

I’ve gone from 20mg to 40mg. Back on the highest dose of Citalopram for the second time. Last time was for depression though, this time it’s for panic / anxiety.

I hope it helps alleviate some of this anxiety again, as it’s creeping higher every day…

My psychosis has been absolutely terrible coming up to a week now, and it’s really taking it out of me ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

I’m really tired of questioning everything and jumping at things nobody else sees. I hate when the world feels this scary.

This morning I woke up and couldn’t figure out which memories were real at all – alongside hallucinations and very vivid realistic dreams, I feel like I’m drowning in a reality that isn’t real…

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Psychosis, dogs and meds

I don’t know how I’m doing at the moment.

I’m still much more stable than I was before Citalopram, and am probably still closer to stable then I have been in about four years.

But things aren’t as good as they were, and I’m struggling.

The fact I’m struggling makes me scared, because I’m terrified Citalopram will stop working again and I’ll be thrown back into a life of terror and extreme, constant mood swings.

I’ve had a few days where I’ve struggled very much with depression, and tearfulness, and hopelessness. It doesn’t seem to be a constant though, just a day or two, and the constant is a more ‘meh’ mood…irritable, exhausted, miserable, and pain.

My neck pain, headaches and migraines have been really bad for a week or so now ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

I’ve been having more visual hallucinations than had become usual and my paranoia is back. My anxiety still isn’t really visible, but I’m scared with my psychosis kicking up a notch it’s gonna come flooding back.

I am still able to enjoy things though, and I can get out the house still. I couldn’t cope with going somewhere busy, such as a supermarket, but I can enjoy brief walks around the neighbourhood – I can even walk our little foster dog on my own!

Because of our foster dog we can’t leave the house for very long at the moment – we’re building it up very slowly, today we’ll be leaving her for twenty minutes!

Anyway, that means we can’t make it to the GP appt which was supposed to be within the next week…before my mood went weird I was very confident about going to this appt and actually planning what I wanted to say, but now I’m relieved to have a reason we can’t go and when I think of an appt my heart hammers.

My partner phoned the surgery last Friday to ask for a phone appt, as my GP said we could do things that way. He’d talk to my partner about how I was doing and type up a repeat prescription, and the physical appt can be left another few weeks.

The surgery didn’t have any phone appts available though, there’s a week wait :/

I think we should have enough meds to last.